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County pride and a good cause are the highlights for the seventh annual KLS Running for Ryan event set for Saturday, April 20 at the Lancaster High School track.
The event, a fundraiser for Kleine-Levin syndrome, will feature the annual Lancaster County track meet for boys and girls teams.
The county quartet of host Lancaster, Andrew Jackson, Buford and Indian Land will be at the LHS track for the event which begins at 10 a.m.
The meet is held in memory of Ryan McKinney, who died of cardiac arrhythmia which was caused by a missed diagnosis and over medication of KLS.
Kleine–Levin syndrome, also known as Sleeping Beauty syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by recurring periods of excessive amounts of sleeping and eating.
KLS has no known cause or cure, but early detection can help reduce the fear and anxiety that accompany this rare disorder.
McKinney, who died at age 19, is a Lancaster High School graduate who ran track for the Bruins during his high school career.
“We’ve had great response with this event and we’re looking forward to another great event this year,” said Donna White, McKinney’s mother, who has become heavily involved with the KLS Foundation. “It’s tremendous to see the response we have with the athletes competing and the community turning out to support the athletes and KLS. It means so much to our family.”
McKinney, who graduated at LHS in 2004, died two years later.
Funds raised at the event will go for KLS research and for the first time, a scholarship fund.
The event opens at 10 a.m. with the opening ceremonies to begin at 11 a.m.
Stephen Maier, co-president of the KLS National Foundation, will speak during the ceremonies. Maier is a KLS patient who will be sharing his story in dealing with the disorder. In addition, the event will feature storytelling by GiGi Scott, Ryan’s sister, face painting, inflatables, games for kids and raffles.
Deejay Bruce Bailey will provide entertainment during the event.
Barbecue plates, prepared by Lancaster High School athletic director Mark Strickland and Dr. Johnny Dukes, will be sold for $7 each.
“The barbecue is often a major draw with the event and we know people will again enjoy it,” White said. “The food is only part of the event where our community comes together for a great cause.”
White said the success of the event hinges on a dedicated group of community members who are part of the event’s committee.
They include Fred Hicklin, Richard Plyler, Ken Hudson, Beverly and Dr. Wayne Gilliam, Evelyn Jeannette, Angela McCrorey, LaVilla Brevard, Carolyn McMullen, Chris Thorpe, Bennie McMurray, Jeremy McMurray, Mark Strickland, Coach Floyd White and Gloria White, Sharon Novinger, Ann Blackmon and GiGi Scott.
“Those people are special and put in a great deal of work to make this event the success it is,” White said.